NBC News will bring back its chief medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman, whose mandatory quarantine ends today — but the news division is keeping her out of circulation for another month, presumably to give the toxicity of her quarantine violation time to subside.
In a memo to staff, NBC News chief Deborah Turness announced that the 21-day quarantine period of Snyderman and her team is ending tonight, but that “we have encouraged them — and they have agreed — to take some time off with their families and friends to help restore some normalcy to their lives.”
“We very much look forward to their return next month,” Turness said.
In marked contrast, NBC News’ freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who actually came down with Ebola while covering the disease in Liberia and yesterday was proclaimed Ebola-free by his doctors, will be seen on NBC’s air today. He’s going to talk — not to Snyderman, but to Kate Snow, about his experience:
Yesterday, Mukpo, officially declared Ebola free by experts at the Nebraska Medical Center biocontainment unit, celebrated by attempting to rescue Snyderman from the career-nuking situation she created when she violated the voluntary quarantine she’d agreed to, on-air, tweeting “Be nice to her plz.”
Mukpo’s tweeted attempt to rescue her from her bad press came a day after an AP report spread, like an epidemic, across the media landscape in which TV industry navel lint gazers suggested she may have rendered herself pretty non-credible to viewers and therefore useless to NBC owing not just to her quarantine violation but also to her “arrogance” and “dismissiveness” upon being caught.
A public health nurse has monitored Snyderman and her crew members twice a day, and police conducted surveillance of her New Jersey home area, according to Princeton health officer Jeff Grosser, since public health officials slapped Snyderman with a mandatory quarantine. That came after the website Planet Princeton first broke the news that Snyderman — under voluntary quarantine upon returning to the U.S. from Africa when Mukpo was diagnosed with Ebola — had been spotted in her black Mercedes, double-parked outside the Peasant Grill restaurant, while a passenger went inside to get food. Her mandatory quarantine expires at 11:59 PM tonight.
Snyderman got flamed in comments on NBC News’ website and on her Facebook page, over her statement about her quarantine nose-thumbing. In the statement, read on air by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams after her quarantine violation became national news, Snyderman did not acknowledge participating in the violation, instead describing it as “members of our group” having violated “those guidelines.” In her statement, Snyderman said, “As a health professional, I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public,” adding she was deeply sorry for the “concerns” this “episode” caused.
Here is Turness’ memo to staff:
Today we have good news about our team who had been in West Africa.
Ashoka Mukpo has been declared Ebola-free by his doctors in Nebraska and will soon be heading home to his family in Rhode Island. We are so pleased with his swift recovery and touched by the enormous gratitude both he and his family have expressed to NBC News. It’s a meaningful tribute to everyone here who has worked so hard to get him the very best care. We’ll hear directly from Ashoka today when he talks to Kate Snow about his experience.
And I am very pleased to share that, as of tonight, the 21-day quarantine period of Dr. Nancy Snyderman and the team will be over, which means they have cleared the range of time when Ebola symptoms typically appear (the range can be between 2-21 days after exposure but the average time symptoms appear is between 8-10 days). They remain healthy and symptom-free, which is a great relief to all.
While in Liberia Dr. Nancy and her team delivered first class, first-hand reporting from the front lines of this tragic and monumental story. Their subsequent departure from Monrovia, their return to the U.S. and period of quarantine has been a challenging time. We have encouraged them – and they have agreed – to take some time off with their families and friends to help restore some normalcy to their lives. We very much look forward to their return next month.